That rhythm, made possible by the surrounding hopefuls, played out over and over again on the second floor of Downtown's Benedum Center for the Performing Arts on Fri., Feb. 14 as countless dancers auditioned for the Pittsburgh CLO's upcoming summer season.
Typically four at a time, dancers would be called out individually by name. Quickly hustling to the middle of the floor, they would then run through a dance that they learned just minutes before. After performing it a second time, the floor would be cleared and four more dancers would take the spotlight in front of a table of judges. These judges — Olivia O'Connor, manager of New Work Development at CLO, Robbie Roby, choreographer for Sister Act, Mark Esposito, choreographer for Guys And Dolls, Baayork Lee, director/choreographer for A Chorus Line, and Matthew Couvillon, associate choreographer for A Chorus Line — would quickly make their notes in between each group.
There was an energetic, yet intense and focused vibe among those auditioning. When not being called upon, some would work on their dance, while others would cheer on their friends or stretch from the sidelines.
I'm not a dancer. (Every wedding I go to further illustrates that.) This is not my world. But I knew I had to go to the auditions as soon as I was sent an invitation to document the process. It was an amazing opportunity to be able to pull back the curtain on a part of our culture here in Pittsburgh and show readers how these incredible artists prepare for the chance to dance in a large production.